The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 23, 2013

'Tis the season of the orange cones


Daily Item

---- — Spring is a brilliant time in Pennsylvania, a time when the leaves and grass turn green, flowers bloom in every color and the world changes from day to day. One of the best things about living here are the four very distinct seasons and the way spring erupts into life.

Another bloom accompanies the Pennsylvania spring: Those orange construction cones, which litter the concrete landscape from one corner of the Susquehanna Valley to the next.

That is the curse of living in a place with four seasons. The window for PennDOT and local municipalities to start and finish road construction is very small: from about mid-March, if the weather cooperates, until about early November. That construction window happens to coincide with the busiest time of the year for driving.

When those two meet, it can be a standoff literally. One day a trip to work can take 20 minutes and the same trip on the same road can take twice that long the next day.

It is the nature of the beast, however. The harsh winter weather wreaks havoc on Keystone State roads and also keeps most people indoors at the same time. When those roads need fixed is when people come out of hibernation and want to travel the roads. Unfortunately that road is often lined with orange construction cones, detours and lane closed ahead signs.

Right now in the Susquehanna Valley there are several major construction projects going on at once. Downtown Mifflinburg looks like something out of Europe in the 1940s; the main thoroughfare into Selinsgrove is down to one lane as work is being done on a bridge; Route 11 coming into Northumberland is slowed during rush hour; getting in and out of Shamokin is an adventure with simultaneous work on Routes 61 and 225. There are also minor projects popping up everywhere, as well.

Everybody wants smooth, pot-hole free roads to drive on, but they don't want to spend hours in traffic. You can't have one without the other, however.

So be patient the next few months. Allow yourself some extra time to get where you are going because while the road may be wide-open one day, it might be a parking lot tomorrow.

And please slow down. Those men and women working are working hard, and risking their lives at times, to make your life considerably less bumpy.